Violence Breaks Out As Police Clear the Protest Camp in Ukraine
3 March, 2018

It stood strong through water and fire since October 17, but today the police have finally managed to demolish the anti-government protest camp outside the Ukrainian parliament. And, of course, things didn’t end peacefully.

After the law enforcers gave the protester camp town an unexpected visit, clashes erupted leaving 20 injured: 13 demonstrators and seven police officers. According to Vyzvolennia civil movement, one protester is due to have an operation as a result of the police’s actions. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has also reported that over 100 people were detained over the course of the operation.

Photo credit: Bohdan Kutiepov/HROMADSKE

Apart from the protesters and the police, it appears that some journalists were also injured during the clashes.

Hromadske journalist Bohdan Kutiepov was pushed away by a police officer, despite the journalist wearing a press vest. While Radio Svoboda’s Serhii Nuzhnenko has had it worse: as a result of pepper spray used against him by the law enforcers, he received a chemical burn and had to be treated at the hospital.

Photo credit: Dmytro Replianchuk/HROMADSKE

Andriy Kryshchenko, the head of Kyiv Police, told Hromadske that they acted in accordance with the court decision allowing them to carry out “investigative actions” outside the parliament. “The protesters were warned about this,” he said.

He later added that Nuzhenko’s statement is being looked at by the police and they will carry out an investigation into the police’s actions.

Photo credit: Bohdan Kutiepov/HROMADSKE

“We will then pass the documents onto the Kyiv Prosecutor Office. We are also looking into the [claims on] social media about the police’s actions against two other journalists,” he said.

The police have also claimed that, during the raid, they found two objects that looked like grenades. After the dispersion, the law enforcers remained on the territory outside the parliament, which now has a red ribbon across it and little resembles the former camp town.

Photo credit: Bohdan Kutiepov/HROMADSKE

Today’s violent clashes come just days after the parliament delivered on one of the protest camp’s main demands: on March 1 the parliament passed the bill on the anti-corruption court in its first reading.

Photo credit: Bohdan Kutiepov/HROMADSKE

Apart from being the protesters’ and reform campaigners’ key demand, the creation of an independent anti-corruption court in Ukraine is also a highly-anticipated move in the international society as it is one of the requirements for a long-delayed tranche from the International Monetary Fund.

Ukrainian parliament is yet to vote for the law in second reading and to take into consideration the recommendations made by the Venice Commission, a rights watchdog.

/By Maria Romanenko